“If somebody says ‘no’, I say ‘watch me’”: How Michael’s perseverance paid off
Michael Osman was determined to carve out a career in the transport industry. Now, as a successful StarTrack Fleet Controller, he has proven that his disability won’t stop him from achieving his goals.
Video: A burly man with a neat beard drives an SUV that tows a jet ski on a trailer. He's interviewed in a garage decorated with old-fashioned postcards and signs.
Audio: Man: When there is something about us that's visible to the outside world, there's nowhere to hide.
Video: The man's parked on a boat ramp, with the jet ski trailer in the water. He walks around the SUV. His right leg is a prosthetic, his left arm finishes above the elbow, and his right hand is missing fingers. He winds a winch, easing the jet ski into the water. He pulls in a rope, looping it across his arm stump. Wet to the knees, he climbs onto the jetty.
Audio: Man: My parents just wanted me to grow up normally. If I wanted something and it was over the other side of the lounge room, they made me get across there. I can hop really well. [laughs]
Video: Holding the mooring rope, he walks up the jetty and ties off the floating jet ski. Standing on the jet ski, he cruises from the wharf.
Audio: Man: My disability is called amniotic band syndrome; literally all four limbs I've got a disability on. Every day you live with a disability, there's challenges that come up. If somebody says, "No", I say, "Watch me".
Video: As he motors away, sunbeams radiate from a log gap in the clouds, bathing the water with gentle light. In the distance, cranes loom above a cargo ship. The title 'Journeys' appears above the Australia Post logo. Aerial footage shows huge cargo ships moored at industrial wharves. There's a cluster of skyscrapers in the distance. The Australia Post logo appears in the top right corner. Heavy machinery moves a freight container. A forklift sits near stacks of pallets.
Audio: Man: I always wanted to work for a large freight company. People that worked for these companies were there for 15, 20, 25 years. Ultimately, that was the dream. A good paying stable job. The first job I applied for I was found to be unsuccessful at the time. A couple of years later there was advertisements for forklift drivers so I applied and was unsuccessful again.
Video: The man strides toward the forklift.
Audio: Man: I heard through the grapevine that there was a freight company – they were hiring basically anyone that had a truck licence. There was plenty of training agencies that said, "No, we can't do that". One particular agency said, "Look, we'll go out for a drive now." He goes, "You probably shift gear better than half the recruits that come through."
Video: The man climbs behind the wheel of a huge blue truck. With his arm stump, he presses a large button on the dash. The engine starts.
Audio: Man: I got my truck driving licence and feeling very positive about myself, so I thought, "I've got this job." I didn't even get through to the interview stage.
Video: He sits motionless in the truck. Later, he stands watching a truck drive away.
Audio: Man: If someone like myself that was, you know, determined, over-qualified, hard-working, but still was just met with, "No, no, no, no," something has to change. Just give me the opportunity, you know, I won't let you down.
Video: The man strides along a line of large blue trucks. He gazes up at the StarTrack logo on a cabin.
Audio: Man: I applied to StarTrack back in 2016 for a Fleet Controller's role. I was very sceptical, then I got a call. It was the HR department from StarTrack. They said that I had excelled in the interview and they gave me a start date, which was just...mind blowing.
Video: Wearing an Australia Post uniform polo shirt and black shorts, he stands near refuelling equipment. He strides through a StarTrack building. A truck drives away.
Audio: Man: 20 years after first applying in the freight industry, I got the job with Australia Post StarTrack. A Fleet Controller's main role is to ensure freight is collected in a timely fashion. It's extremely challenging. It's also rewarding.
Video: In an office, he types rapidly with his fingers and stump. The back of his uniform shirt features an Accessibility Matters logo. At home, he cooks on a barbecue. A girl hugs him. Carrying a tray of meat, he joins his daughter and wife at a table.
Audio: Man: I want to grow with Australia Post StarTrack and this is a message for people with all forms of disability – don't let it stop you. People told me that I'd probably never ride a bike, I'd never hold a car licence. People said, "You won't be able to hold a truck licence." And I said, "Watch me".
Video: He eats and laughs with his family.
Audio: Man: Kids especially, like, back through school they said that I'd never be able to do monkey bars. To this day, I can still not do monkey bars and that's one thing that's really got me my whole life.
Video: He poses with his wife and daughter in front of their suburban house. White text on a red screen reads, "To watch the full Journeys series, go to auspost.com.au/watch."
Audio: Voiceover: Just one story from over 60,000 team members, Australia Post. Delivering for Australia.
Video: "Delivering for Australia," appears under the Australia Post logo.
Michael Osman had one big dream—to work in a large freight company. He already had a truck driving licence. All he needed next was for a company to look past his disability and give him a solid chance.
Michael has Amniotic Band Syndrome, a rare condition that has left all four limbs with a disability. His right leg is a prosthetic, his left arm finishes above the elbow, and his right hand is missing fingers.
For most of his job application history, his disability was the only thing that mattered to prospective employers.
“When there’s something about us that’s visible to the outside world, there’s no way to hide,” Michael says. But he’s not hiding. Instead, when anyone tells him that he can’t do something, his powerful response is, “Watch me.”
Our film crew did just that as Michael got ready to ride his jet ski. His SUV was parked on a boat ramp with the jet ski trailer in the water. He wound a winch, eased the jet ski into the water and pulled in a mooring rope which he looped across his arm stump. He then untied the floating jet ski, climbed on it and cruised off from the wharf.
A journey met with many challenges
Michael’s parents were determined to give him a normal upbringing. That meant if he wanted something across the room, he had to find a way to get it. That set his expectations that everything he wanted was within reach.
But the journey to finding his place in the transport industry put his perseverance to the test.
“I always wanted to work in a large freight company,” Michael says. “That was the dream. To have a well-paid, stable job.”
His first job application was unsuccessful. Undaunted, he sent out more applications for the role of forklift driver. No luck there either. Then he heard about a freight company that was hiring anyone with a truck license.
Michael immediately began contacting training agencies to get his licence.
“So many turned me down,” he remembers. “But then finally there was one agency that said, “Look, we’ll go out for a drive now.” And then the trainer goes, "You probably shift gear better than half the recruits that come through here."
Michael got his truck driving licence and a boost of confidence. He applied for the job, certain he would nail it. He never got the call for an interview.
“If someone like me who’s determined, over-qualified and hard-working is still met with ‘no’ then something has to change. Just give me the opportunity. I won't let you down.”
Michael’s advice for anyone with disability
In 2016, StarTrack had a role open for a fleet controller. Despite his scepticism, Michael sent in his application. An interview followed. And then a job offer.
Two decades after sending out his first job application, Michael was finally working in the freight industry.
“It was just mind-blowing,” he says.
Today, Michael’s uniform is an Australia Post polo shirt and black shorts. The back of his uniform shirt features an Accessibility Matters logo.
“My job is to make sure freight is collected in a timely fashion,” he says. “It’s extremely challenging but also extremely rewarding.”
“This is my message for people with all forms of disability—don't let it stop you. People told me that I'd probably never ride a bike, I'd never hold a car licence. People said, "You won't be able to hold a truck licence." And I said, "Watch me".
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